Rethink Men­tal Ill­ness find Mike’

Exhibited by
Fiona Lishman
March 03, 2015
Medium of Communication
Social media, on-line.
Target Audience
Type of Charity
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance
IWITOT 2014 / February 2015

SOFII’s view

Another case study from the 2014 IWITOT, where the charity had the courage to put the cause in second place with great success. Jonny Benjamin found the man who, literally, had saved his life and the brave organisation not only raised much-needed awareness of a subject often shrouded in secrecy, but some rather substantial donations as well.

Summary / objectives

Jonny Benjamin, who suffers from shizoaffective disorder, wanted to find the man who persuaded him not to jump off Waterloo Bridge in London six years earlier and, with Rethink's backing, he launched a nationwide hunt on social media.


This campaign really struck a chord with me, having a close family member who is schizophrenic. Both conditions are often widely misunderstood and there's still a taboo around mental illness. Jonny launched his search for Mike (or Neil as he is actually called) in mid-January 2014 and it took two weeks and a few hoax 'Mikes' to find the real one. Jonny went on national TV and #findmike went viral on Facebook and Twitter, with celebrities such as Stephen Fry and Boy George tweeting their support.

Creator / originator

Rethink Mental Illness/Jonny Benjamin

Special characteristics

Rethink were quite happy for their brand to be practically non-existent the whole way through the campaign. They allowed Jonny to get his story across without interfering, which made it completely authentic and personal. It was one man's quest and the entire nation were behind him. At the same time, Jonny managed to raise awareness of schizoaffective disorder and mental illness as a whole, which was one of his objectives: after finding 'Mike' of course, although he never thought this would actually happen. Also, social media campaigns are cheap and, if you have the resources to keep updating Facebook and Twitter, it's a case of finding that special someone or something that could make a campaign go viral.

Influence / impact

#findmike became the top trending topic on Twitter in the UK and even made it as far as South Africa, Australia and Canada, with 44,000 tweets on the first day alone. Jonny appeared on Daytime breakfast show, as well as setting up a Facebook account, where Rethink got 5,000 likes as well as 2,600 new Twitter followers and a fivefold increase in traffic to their website.


Unknown but not a huge amount as it was mainly PR driven and social media.


There was a text-to-donate number during the film itself, asking people to text MIKE to give £3 with a follow-up phone conversion campaign, as well as a launch event to which lots of bloggers were invited. Additionally, Rethink tied #findmike in with their spring appeal, with record-breaking results for that time of year. One supporter gave £10,000 and many other gifts were in excess of usual giving levels so it was hugely successful for the charity.


It's an important example of a social media campaign done really well – and a charity willing to put their brand to one side to let one person tell their story.

This campaign was featured in SOFII’s 2014 I Wish I’d Thought Of That event